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Change the Name

The calls are rising for the Washington Redskins to become the Washington Something Elses.Debate has raged over team owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change his team’s mascot to anything else. He has used all kinds of arguments to reach his conclusion, but the message is the same: Washington’s NFL team will remain the Redskins on his watch.

The Washington Post reports that during Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California has paid for a version of this ad to run in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago:

So it’s clear that at least one Native American group doesn’t like the Redskins moniker, and more have come forward in the past. My advice to Dan Snyder?

Change that name. Change it tomorrow. And apologize.

Yes, I know Washington is his team, and Snyder can do what he wants with it. He might have some notions that tradition and history compel him to keep his mascot. Well, there’s some pretty nasty racist history  in the United States that can’t be ignored when it comes to Native Americans. It’s also a history that has continued until pretty recent times.

To me, this isn’t a political or economic issue… we know Washington’s football team will continue to rake in gobs of money, since it plays in the most popular sports league in America. It’s an issue of human decency. Besides, we’ve seen instances where Native American tribes have supported mascots that draw on their heritage. If your mascot isn’t a problem, people will tell you.

But it’s obvious in this case that the “Redskins” name goes too far. Just become the “Washington Americans” or the “Washington Washing Machines,” Dan Snyder. You’ll be filthy rich either way.

Change the name.

-Matt Michaels

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